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Episode 5.2 — Using the Guest: Day 2

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although i agreed with the judges about Bob and Dans questioning not being original, i feel like they didn't take into account that Dan Telfer seemed to have a lot of fun answering them. And granted we only can make opinions based on what we heard on the earwolf challenge, but if you take the time to listen to Bob and Dans full episode with Telfer, it almost seems like they were old friends catching up. just a thought...

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In spite of the criticism from the judges (which was totally fair), I think Bob and Dan's clip was the funniest. I loved the horse talk. I also laughed out loud when Telfer said "horses killed Superman."
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I think Television Zombies suffers from being recorded in different locations, and I'm not talking about sound issues (for once). I thought their guest idea was actually pretty smart, but they seemed to have a hard time making it work over Skype. Whether it's because of internet lag or because they're not in the same room and can't pick up on facial cues, it seems like there's always a lot of crosstalk and little pauses that make their jokes fall flat.

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@Rutabaga: I wasn't trying to imply that there was inside baseball going on at all! I'm sorry if it came across that way! What I meant was that those two shows have very obvious advantages going into it, which makes the others have to work 3 times as hard. It's not really a level playing field. Like I said, it seems to be making the others work harder to improve which is actually great and satisfying when they rise to it. It stinks when LDDC and TL can just sit there and crank out a segment quickly, due to their experience and catalog, while the others have to make a new kind of segment in a short amount of time. (I'm not saying that TL or LDDC are NOT putting effort into this, but it's like lifting a finger versus climbing a mountain in some cases.) The fact that the challenges are tailored to their type of podcast doesn't help. (Again, that doesn't imply back room dealings. I just mean that the producers are having a hard time coming up with "out of the mold" challenges due to this being the first go-round.)

It just strikes me as odd that they didn't give these two contracts already because they have a professional set-up, contacts and a fan base. All of this is what Earwolf needs right now as a fledgling Podcast "Corp". I get that they are trying to make this fair, but I think in that they are also making it a little unfair. I hope that clarifies my thoughts a bit. Like I said, I like them both a lot, and they have been meeting the challenges. It's just really boring to know they are going to be in the top two (or three) by the end of this.

@MikeQ Like I said, I don't mind the Socratic approach when it comes to discussing segments and whatnot. It seems disingenuous when Matt has been told what is coming and then pretends not to know later. It puts the podcast AND the judges at a really unnecessary disadvantage. I think that a lot of that would be fixed by having the judges listen to 5 minutes of each podcast on their own before the taping of the segment. They might not be doing that to keep the judges "clean" but if the judges are already aware of some of the competitors' works, then that's already out the window. Once they have an idea, I think that Matt's methods will shine through for what he truly means them to be.

As for them possibly not picking LDDC or TL due to Earwolf having enough of those kinds of shows, if they win the challenges, they should win the contest. That is the way the rules are set up. Now, they could be eliminated for any reason, but if it gets to the end and then they say (example) "oh, we really want a sketch show" that's terribly unfair to everyone who has participated.

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@Rutabaga, I somehow missed this part of your post:

Therefore the only other alternative is that the shows like Lil’ Dum Dum and Totes Laime aren’t quite at a level that Earwolf would say yes to immediately. In that case, saying you aren’t good enough to be on the network, but you are too good to be in this contest, would be super unfair.
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That is a good point, and that would make a lot of sense. However, some of the other Earwolf podcasts aren't quite up to LDDC and TL's levels, so it's kind of a wash. (Unless you're comparing apples to apples and not Earwolf as a whole. In which case, I concede that point.)
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@ElDoctor I agree. I really liked that clip, but I am a big fan of Dan Telfer's, so maybe his enthusiasm was infectious and not at all like a "Hey I Feel Like I Have to Be on" bit.

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General note: The guest judges are topnotch every week. Everyone's been perfect.

Episode note: The F+ segment felt a lot like the time that Brett Gelman read "iBrain" on Comedy Bang Bang. So while I thought it was funny, the structure didn't do much for me. I think I would have liked it more without the hosts pretending to try to stop the guest.

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If anyone is curious about the first forums I was reading from you can hear full podcast at http://loureads.com/2011/05/26/lou-reads-from-the-forums-of-cumonfood-net/

But the 1st one was cumonfood.net - HIGHLY NSFW and will probably make you puke.
2nd was ShoeSessions.com http://loureads.com/2011/01/06/lou-reads-shoe-sessions-forum-a-place-to-cum-in-shoes-nsfw/
The 3rd was www.eunuch.org http://loureads.com/2011/03/15/lou-reads-from-the-forums-of-eunuch-archive/
and I'm not sure about the saline pumped ball sacs... I'd have to look...

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Hey Swirley Bear; I'll try to address your issue with my hosting but can you first give me an example (w/time code) of when I have pretended not to know what was coming. I think at least half the time the contestants either dont know what they are going to do or they indeed do something different than what they told me.
And yes, I prefer my socractic way of hosting. The straight up Ryan Seacrest method of game-show hosting seems fake and boring to me. But I also don't want to put a show at a disadvantage in the contest as a result of the way I host.
Thanks for everybody's input!

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I hadn't realized Lou Reads was such a shameless, disgusting show. My takeaway was to subscribe immediately.

The judges raised valid points about the disorienting nature of the F+ clip, but I agree it was still the funniest submission.
It sounds like they'll be in the bottom 3, but I hope they don't get the axe.

The unusual formats of F+ and TVZ puts them at a disadvantage with judges doing a brief blind listen. So a little overview from the producers may even the playing field, as sketch and chat shows are self-explanatory.

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I thought the F-Plus's segment sounded a lot like the appearances Bret Gelman has had on Comedy Death Ray/Bang Bang, where he would read an intentionally offensive, sexual story that he wrote and Scott would keep trying to stop him. I'm not suggesting that the F-Plus was copying those bits, but since their segment was very similar, I can't help but draw that comparison.

One tiny suggestion that I have for Earwolf Challenge is about the theme music. First, I like it, it's very appropriate. I would actually like to hear it play a bit longer at the beginning, I feel it cuts out too soon. I'd like to hear it continue to play under Matt's description of the show before it fades out.

Even though I like the theme, I think the use of the loop behind the commercial is a little too much. Those 2 particular bars repeated over and over are a little distracting from the message of the commercial.

As always, keep up the good work! I think the criticisms of the submissions were pretty on point.

EDIT: Oops, just saw Monty's post mentioned the Bret Gelman similarities already.

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@Monty... I was thinking the same thing while listening. Brett Gelman's iBrain is one of my favorite CBB moments, and I think it was better executed than this. Obviously there are a lot of skits out there that have followed that format, but this wasn't the best. Scott makes it work on CBB because he gets more disgusted and sells it better.

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Matt, I hope that you don't feel attacked. I wasn't trying to do that at all. I understand your method and what you're trying to do. As I said before, the main point discussions about "what makes this or that" are interesting to me. As I was writing this, my husband just suggested that you have the discussion of what would meet the criteria of a segment with the judges on the Part 1 show. THEN, you could bring in the contestants for the coaching sessions so that everyone has a clear idea up front of what loose parameters are expected. Obviously, each podcast will do things their own way, which is what makes this so fun. However, it would be great if the judges had an idea of what they were judging first. I hope that makes sense.

I will listen to the podcasts again to get you specific examples and time stamps of what I am talking about. I might be reading you wrong, but sometimes it does come off that way to me as a listener.

To address another point, F+ and Lou Reads read actual forums posts, stories, blogs, etc from the craziest parts of the internet. They are all real and not pre-written bits. I can see the comparison to Brett Gelman's CDR appearance, but they did not write what they are reading. I agree that TV Zombies and F+ are at a comedy disadvantage in terms of being an instantly recognizable concept. Not sure whether that would make them an overall bad fit, but I think that Earwolf has room for everybody!

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I felt that Howard and Maron were both tough but fair (I gotta say I really enjoy every Tuesday finding out who the guest judges will be, all pairings have been good so far but this was maybe the best), they were honest about what was confusing, and what just wasn't funny. For me personally, this week my favorites were Little Dum Dum Club and Left Handed Radio. LHR's sketch wasn't perfect, in a way it peaked before the end, but it was still well-done, seemed to be in the guest's wheelhouse, and had some funny moments. Little Dum Dum Club seem to have a very firm handle on how to do funny banter, every time Matt calls them that comes through too. I like Totally Laime but this wasn't their best week. If I had to bet on who goes home this time, either F Plus or TV Zombies. The sound quality on Zombies bothers the judges, I just don't have an interest in sci-fi TV and while I can get over the sound quality, I can't get over the timing issues. F Plus I thought was somewhat funny but I agree it was confusing and the whole "no no, you can't keep saying that" seemed contrived. I see what people mean about Gelman being similar, but there's something to the fact that Gelman is doing original material, and the whole 'stop it'/"banned from the show" is funnier when it's drawn out over a longer time frame.

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I thought the judges were a bit harsh on the F+, thouugh I do agree that they should make clear where the things they are reading come from.
However, I don't get all these people (judges included) who are saying it would be funnier if the F+ guys just let the guest talk, rather than interrupting. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't that the whole point of the bit? And it was a bit.

Also, I'm sure the Little Dum Dum Club would be flattered to hear that Swirly Bear thinks they are already very famous in Australia but that's not really the case, unless you're using a very broad definition of famous. I think they would definitely benefit from more exposure. Remember, LDDC has only been going for less than a year.

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I really enjoyed the Blue Sphere skit. Actually it was my favorite out of all the submissions. Thought the F+ segment resembled iBrain from CDR way too closely, without the proper set-up. The Magellean segment was really funny too, I thought the judges were a bit too tough on them.

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Some interesting thoughts in the thread this week.

  • I can't agree with Allison's comment that Totally Laime's has a hook when The Little Dum Dum doesn't. Essentially they are both the same show - hosts goofing off with guests in front of a microphone. That's also the same concept for a number of other podcasts - Jordan Jesse Go and Comedy Bang Bang to name a few; so what would both add to Earwolf if they won the challenge?
  • I have mixed feelings on the F+'s submission this week. The guest understood the format and brought funny content, yet there was no interaction beyond dismissal. They have such a great concept yet seem to get the challenge wrong every week without fail.
  • I listen to podcasts to avoid morning zoo's, so I didn't like Totally Laime's submission this week. Too many sound effects, used far too quickly.
  • I thought the judges gave Television Zombies a hard time. They explained from the top that they have a voice actor on, and allowed him to focus on his craft while the hosts stick to their format. I think the Zombies shouldn't have brushed pass the first impression so quickly (it would have been fine to shoot questions for two minutes), but I don't think it's fair to thumb down the show because it's a poor impression or if they sprung the impression request on the guest. Fair point on the sound quality, but the judges asking who the guest was - really?
  • Winner: Left Handed Radio
  • Bottom Three: Totally Laime, F+, The Fort

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It's cool to see so many different opinions on the shows every week.

Bob and Dan's submission was the funniest for me. Dan Telfer is hilarious and the three of them made me laugh the whole time. I haven't been high on Left Handed Radio during the whole competition but this week they won me over. The sketch was great and the guest in the sketch made it even better.

I agree with the Marc Maron about the Fort's submission. I was listening with someone and when I heard their guest was Matt Braunger I told them he was really funny. By the end of the sketch they had no proof he was funny at all.

I'm loving the show and I can't wait for tomorrow.

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I'd like to echo the sentiment that judges should be given some prior knowledge about the entrants' podcasts. Context is pretty important in any kind of art. Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable passing judgement on a project that a person has spent countless time on unless I had a firm grasp of their material.

Also, the guest judges continue to perfectly match the week's challenge. I can't think of two people who I enjoy as interviewers more than Howard and Marc.

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Wow, that Totally Laime clip turned me off ENTIRELY. It reminded me of when the gang on It's Always Sunny discovered podcasting.
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Podcasting is an appealing medium because it doesn't have all the ridiculous trappings of morning zoo crew radio. You don't have to keep me awake on my commute, and you don't need to stop me from switching to something else, because that can be hard to do in the car. When you're a podcast, all you need to do is not make me turn you off. A sad trombone SFX is going to do that every single time. I would rather listen to road noise with my hands at 10 and 2 than listen to a sad trombone.
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I actually really liked the F+ submission this week. It was a clever spin on the theme, and the guest was clearly in on the bit, and he executed it well. I still don't like the rampant negativity in what I've heard of their show, but I liked this week's submission.
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As of right now, the only shows I'll seek out of the competitors are Bob and Dan (this week's winners, for sure), Complete Guide, and Left Hand Radio. Complete Guide is out, obviously, but I think both Bob and Dan and Left Hand would bring something new to Earwolf. Bob and Dan with their casual riffs, and Left Hand with their excellent execution of their full-sketch format.

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